Countries across Europe that have been badly hit by a second wave are grappling with the same decision: Lockdown completely? Or try to stem the flow of Covid-19 cases with fewer restrictions?
Here’s what’s going on:
UK: In England, a new three-tier Covid Alert system emphasizing localized restrictions came into force on Wednesday as case numbers continue to surge. But the main opposition Labour party has warned the government has not gone far enough. It called for a two-to-three week “circuit breaker” lockdown in an attempt to reduce the nation’s R rate, or the number of people that those infected pass the virus on to.
In Northern Ireland, there will be a four-week closure of pubs and restaurants from Friday, with the exception of takeaways and deliveries. Schools will also close for two weeks (one week being the usual half-term break) from Monday. Officials stopped short of calling it a full lockdown.
In numbers: There were 17,234 new cases recorded on Tuesday and 143 deaths in the UK.
The Netherlands: Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced Tuesday that all restaurants and bars must close as of 10 p.m. from Wednesday, including outside dining, except for takeout.
“All in all, there are too many people who have not adhered enough to the rules” — Rutte
In numbers: Coronavirus infections rose 60% over the seven-day period ending Monday in the Netherlands, compared with the previous week, according to the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.
Italy: One of the worst-affected countries in Europe during the first wave of the pandemic, Italy recorded its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since March 28 on Tuesday.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced further restrictions to curb the virus’ spread, including a ban on private parties, suspension of school trips within public spaces and imposing mandatory face masks indoors, except when at home with family.
In numbers: Italian health authorities said there had been 5,901 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours. The number of patients with Covid-19 in intensive care now sits at 514, overtaking Sunday’s tally of 420 – the highest since March 31.
The Czech Republic: Primary and secondary schools closed overnight. Bars and restaurants can trade — without seated service or indoor dining — until 8 p.m. and then via delivery only, Ministry of Health officials told CNN.
“Three unhappy weeks are awaiting ahead” — Minister of Health Roman Prymula
Prymula admitted that earlier restrictions were not strong enough in the summer and had failed to slow or prevent the second wave.
In numbers: On Tuesday, the country reported 8,325 new cases – its second-highest daily case count since the pandemic began. The Czech Republic has more cases per 100,000 people (521.5) than any other European country, according to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
France: The situation is also worsening in France. Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron will make a televised address later Wednesday in which, some observers say, new measures could be put in place.
In numbers: Covid-19 patients now take up 44.6% of the Paris region’s intensive care unit beds, according to latest figures released by the French government. This is up from 39.7% a week ago when new restrictions, such as the closing of bars, were implemented in the Paris region.
Germany: There has been a sharp rise in coronavirus infections and Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet the state premiers of the 16 federal states on Wednesday to discuss possible new nationwide measures ahead of the fall holidays. At the center of discussions in the chancellery will be the question of overnight stays for German visitors.
In numbers: The Robert Koch Institute on Wednesday reported 5,132 new infections, taking the country’s total to 334,585. The number of deaths jumped by 40 to a total of 9,677.
Poland: The country has recorded its highest number of daily new coronavirus cases and the highest daily death toll from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki entered quarantine after having close contact with an infected person.
In numbers: There were 6,526 new Covid-19 cases and 116 deaths, the government reported Wednesday, the first time the daily death toll has crossed 100.
Additional reporting from Stephanie Halasz, Fred Pleitgen, Artur Osinski, Tomas Etzler, Nicola Ruotolo and Amy Cassidy